June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.960.1 - 10.960.13
New Accreditation Criteria for the Civil Engineering Profession: Process and Products
Stephen Ressler United States Military Academy
Introduction This paper describes the ongoing development of new ABET accreditation criteria for civil engineering programs, as part of the larger process of implementing the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Policy 465. The paper summarizes the evolution of Policy 465 and the associated Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK); it discusses the advantages and limitations inherent in using accreditation criteria as an instrument for fostering implementation of the BOK; it summarizes the development process leading to new draft BOK-compliant accreditation criteria; and, finally, it provides a detailed description and analysis of the products—proposed Basic Level Civil Engineering Program Criteria, Advanced Level General Criteria, and the associated draft ASCE Commentary.
The ultimate purpose of this paper is to share the new draft criteria with a broader audience and to solicit feedback that will further improve the quality, relevance, and effectiveness of these products.
Background: Policy 465 and the Body of Knowledge Rapid technological advancement, globalization, and ever-increasing political, social, environmental, and economic constraints are fundamentally changing the practice of civil engineering today. Yet many academic institutions are ill-equipped to respond to these challenges, because of severe credit hour limitations that have been imposed on the four-year bachelor’s degree in recent years. Consequently, the bachelor’s degree is becoming increasingly inadequate as formal academic preparation for the professional practice of civil engineering.
In response to this situation, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Board of Direction adopted Policy Statement 465 in October 1998. This initial version of the policy stated that the Society “supports the concept of the master’s degree as the First Professional Degree for the practice of civil engineering at the professional level.” As the strategy for achieving this vision developed, it became apparent that the policy should more broadly address the academic prerequisites for professional practice and licensure, rather than focusing only on the attainment of a specific academic degree. Hence, in October 2001, the ASCE Board adopted a modified version of Policy 465, indicating that ASCE “supports the concept of the master’s degree or equivalent as a prerequisite for licensure and the practice of civil engineering at the professional level.”
Charged with implementing Policy 465, the ASCE Committee on Academic Prerequisites for Professional Practice (CAP3) began by considering the three fundamental characteristics of a profession—an ethic of professional service, a professional organization, and a specialized body of knowledge.1 The committee’s analysis of the civil engineering profession suggested that, of
Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education
Ressler, S. (2005, June), New Accreditation Criteria For The Civil Engineering Profession: Process And Products Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15346
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